Engineering faculty members made up more than a third of the 2020-21 class of University Faculty Scholars, which was announced on Jan. 29 by NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson. Eight professors in the College of Engineering or in affiliated engineering departments in other colleges received this designation, which recognizes their outstanding achievement in research, teaching and service at the university.
Twenty-one faculty members were named as part of this year’s University Faculty Scholars class. The program was established in 2012, and since then 191 early- and mid-career faculty members have received this designation. Of those 191 faculty members, 56 are associated with the College.
Faculty members are nominated by their college for the award. Eligible nominees include all tenured or tenure-track associate and full professors within the first three years of appointment at that rank and assistant professors who have been reappointed for a second term. Scholars receive a pay increase and retain the designation throughout their appointment at NC State.
This year’s University Faculty Scholars from the College of Engineering are:
- Milad Abolhasani is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His research interests include flow chemistry, microfluidics, microscale technologies for energy and environment, continuous nano-manufacturing and microscale transport phenomena. Abolhasani received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto.
- Maria Avramova is an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and is also the director of the Reactor Dynamics and Fuel Modeling Group (RDFMG). Her research interests include reactor thermal-hydraulics, core design, transient and safety analysis, multi-physics and multi-scale simulations, verification and validation, and uncertainty and sensitivity analysis. Avramova received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
- Ismail Guvenc is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His recent research focus is on communications and signal processing and networking, and recent interests include 5G wireless systems, heterogeneous wireless networks and communications and networking with drones. Guvenc received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida.
- Michael Kudenov is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His current research is focused on developing novel imaging systems, interferometers, detectors and anisotropic materials related to polarization and spectral sensing, for wavelengths spanning ultraviolet through the thermal infrared. Kudenov received his Ph.D. in optical sciences at the University of Arizona.
- Stefano Menegatti is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His research focus areas are on stimuli-responsive peptide ligands for purification of stem cells and labile therapeutic proteins; hydrogels for scheduled delivery of synergistic combinations of anticancer therapeutics; transdermal delivery of oligonucleotides; peptide antigens for sprayable vaccines; and peptide mimetics for advancing polymer science. Menegatti received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University.
University Faculty Scholars within affiliated engineering departments in other colleges are:
- Wei Gao is an associate professor in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science in the College of Textiles. Her research interests lie at the interface between materials chemistry, textile engineering and renewable energy-related technologies, such as supercapacitors, batteries and fuel cells, and her current focuses include fiber-extrusion processes from two-dimensional materials for wide applications; wearable sensors, triboelectric nanogenerators and energy-storage devices; and two-dimensional adsorbents for water purification. Gao received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Rice University.
- Lokendra Pal is an associate professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources. His research group is focused on developing sustainable and functional bioproducts, delivering top-class hygiene, smart packaging and flexible electronics/3D printable materials and products that benefit society as well as the environment. Pal received his Ph.D. in paper and imaging science and engineering from Western Michigan University.
- Natalie Nelson is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her research interests include using data analytics and integrated models to inform agriculture, aquaculture, water and coastal resources management; estimating estuarine system futures as a function of local and global change; identifying risks to food security in coastal basins; linking data mining and mechanistic modeling approaches; and investigating spatial and temporal dynamics of socio-environmental systems across settings and scales. Nelson received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Florida.
The full list of 2020-21 University Faculty Scholars is available here.